Eater’s Digest


Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Eureka! Eating at Sal’s Klondike Diner is like finding breakfast gold and whether a cheechako or a sourdough, this busy Soldotna eatery has something for everyone.

Upon entering Sal’s, it’s hard not to notice the walls are festooned with Alaskan artifacts - from coyote pelts to an old dog sled - to give the establishment that turn of the last century feel, even the menu is printed to look like an old 1800’s newspaper. But, among these numerous decorations is a sign that reads “This is as good as it gets,” and never have I felt was there a slogan more true for a restaurant that served breakfast.

While Sal’s has a fine lunch and dinner menu, I frequently go for breakfast because - whether going to work during the week or going fishing on ! the weekend - I like to start my day with a big meal, and the meals don’t come any bigger than at a diner. For very little money, diners always seem to serve shovelfuls of food, and they do so very quickly. Sal’s is no exception.

Perhaps, the best example to illustrate this is to try ordering one of their Alaskan Cinnamon Rolls. These from scratch baked breakfast goodies come in two sizes small and large, and let me warn you, the large is really large. Every time I order one, I always expect to hear “beepbeepbeep,” as a truck backs it up to the table. I’m being facetious of course, but I’m completely serious when I say the large is a cinnamon roll the size of your head. I remember back in summer I saw three tourists, y! oung college-aged kids, and one ordered the large cinnamon roll with his breakfast. The waitress tried to warn him, but he proudly boasted “I’ve got a big appetite.” So, she brought the roll out with his breakfast and this kid’s eye’s almost popped out of his head. Even splitting it with his buddies, the three of them didn’t even make it half way through one of these sweet treats.

The cinnamon rolls aren’t the only filling item on the menu, though. Sal’s also offers a $4.49 an item, or two items for $8 breakfast deals, with seven different combinations to choose from including: two Yukon hot cakes; two eggs, hash browns and toast; Sal’s French toast, biscuits and gravy,hash browns and gravy, biscuits, gravy and two eggs, or hash browns, gravy and two eggs.

I’ve always found Sal’s omelets to be another hearty way to start the day. These spatula bending meals are made with four eggs and come in seven varieties including the usual omelet staples, such as cheese, or cheese with ham or bacon, or cheese with fresh mushrooms. The option also presents to add garden goodies in the morning eggs, Sal’s also offers a Denver omelet, a taco omelet and a veggie omelet for those that want more than eggs, but don’t eat meat. All omelets come with hash browns and toast as well.

For those looking for a little more homestyle fare, Sal’s has five scrumptious skillets to choose from, which all include a base of two eggs and hash browns, but other ingredients vary depending on which skillet is ordered. The basic skillet also includes your choice of: ham, bacon, sausage patty, onions, green peppers and cheese. There’s a country skillet which features chicken fried steak and country gravy. The corn beef skillet has in addition to homemade cornbeef, potatoes, onions, peppers and cheese. For something truly Alaskan, the reindeer skillet can’t be beat. While those looking to avoid the grease of a meaty breakfast may opt for the veggie skillet, which comes with tenderly cooked tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and green peppers, all topped with melted cheese.

Now, as I’ve already made clear, Sal’s is the place for good food in huge portions, but for those that believe they still won’t leave full then there is one breakfast entrée that begs to be ordered. For folks looking for the motherload of morning meals, perhaps you should try ordering the motherload. This monster meal comes with a chicken fried steak with gravy that tastes so authentic you’ll think they had it flown in from somewhere deep below the Mason-Dixon line. This tender piece of meat wrapped in a golden brown breading is then drizzled in country gravy so thick you could stand a spoon in it. That’s not all though. With this steak are also three eggs, two pancakes, hash browns and a biscuit. If this meal won’t fill you up nothing will.

So, when it comes to breakfast, take a lesson from those men and women that came to Alaska with gold fever whether by dog sled, ox cart, horse, mule, bicycle or foot, find a way to get to Sal’s for breakfast, but remember your wallet because gold dust is no longer accepted.

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